So you just received that dreaded letter in the mail announcing that a loan servicer who likely never loaned you a dime is going to foreclose on your home. Your adrenaline rockets through your veins, you go into Fight or Flight mode and at some point you say, “Holy sh*t- what do I do now?”
Hopefully by the time you get the letter you have already done some research starting with a trip to the county record’s office (or online) and examined and purchased certified copies of the documents filed in the county records. Typically you will find a copy of your Mortgage or Deed of Trust, followed by subsequent filings called Assignments. The Assignments show a transfer of ownership. There may be Notices of Default filed in the records as well as Quit Claim deeds or Probate documents.
Once you have these documents you should examine every bit of information contained on those documents or hire a company specializing Chain of Title assessments. The Lending Lies team can conduct an affordable Chain of Title assessment to determine any breaks in title, robosigning or ownership issues that cloud title. To date, the Lending Lies team has not found one Chain of Title without significant issues clouding title and evidence that ownership is in question.
We also highly recommend investigator Bill Paatalo of the BP Investigative Agency if the homeowner requires a more in-depth report on securitization and trust issues in addition to Chain of Title issues. For more information about Bill Paatalo please go to: http://www.bpinvestigativeagency.com. He also has an excellent blog on his site with information about fraudulent foreclosures.
Please be careful who you hire to conduct a Chain of Title assessment. There are companies out there professing to be affiliated with Neil Garfield who may attempt to lure unsuspecting homeowners into Chain of Title assessments and Quiet Title packages that are not proven.
If you decide to do the assessment yourself you will need to google every entity claiming ownership, alleged dates assigned, and evidence of robosigning. You are looking for evidence of fraud. Was the company in business when the assignment was made? Are Fannie, Freddie or MERS involved? Is the signor a known robosigner who did not work for the company they signed for? Could the notary have actually been present when the assignment was done? Is there evidence of the document being photoshopped? We recommend that every homeowner facing foreclosure conduct a thorough Chain of Title assessment so that they can identify possible issues early on and be better prepared to present their case to an attorney.
In the past many homeowners would file a lawsuit hoping their attorney would find the breaks in the Chain of Title or other issues affecting ownership somewhere down the line. The attorney and homeowner would hope to get this information in discovery- but were often stonewalled. However, waiting until years to obtain information in discovery is not a pro-active method of attack.
For example, it is much better to know that the entity that transferred your loan was not in business, that the assignment was signed by a known robosigner, and that the trust had already been dissolved years before the assignment- or some other issue early on before filing suit. The bank already knows what they did fraudulently and how to cover their tracks before they set foot in court. Shouldn’t you have some idea of where the fraud exists in regards to your own loan? By knowing information about the entities claiming ownership of your loan and their weaknesses you have more leverage from the onset.
The next thing you should do, if you haven’t already, is to send a Qualified Written Request and a Debt Validation letter to your servicer. Examples can be found on Livinglies or if you prefer, a Lending Lies paralegal can help customize a targeted letter for mailing. Instead of a general Qualified Written Request, the Lending Lies team will request specific information- that the servicer can’t likely provide. The benefit of this service is having Neil Garfield and his paralegal tailor the letters specifically to the findings in your Chain of Title assessment so the servicer is accountable and must answer the questions in your request.
The more information you can receive from your loan servicer, the more apt they are to make errors and provide conflicting information that can help you demonstrate the servicer’s lack of standing. Typically the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing at most servicer’s organizations. Many homeowners who send Qualified Written requests and Debt Validation letters will often not receive the information requested but on occasion receive information that raises further issues. The servicer’s failure to properly respond sets up the servicer for fines and damages under the Fair Debt Collection laws.
Armed with a Chain of Title Assessment, a Qualified Written Request, and Debt Validation information, a homeowner facing foreclosure will have a better understanding of what occurred over the course of their loan. Armed with this information, it is much easier to get an attorney interested opposed to calling an attorney and stating, “my servicer is foreclosing on me illegally” without any evidence to support your claims.
At Lending Lies we routinely speak to people who have been litigating a foreclosure issue for years and still don’t know the basic facts of their case. Before contacting an attorney to defend against foreclosure you should have the following items before proceeding:
- One-page Overview of Case with 3 to 5 primary issues you have targeted as wrongful
- Brief Timeline
- Targeted Qualifed Written Request results
- Targeted Debt Validation letter results
- Chain of Title results
- Forensic Audit if issues with Chain of Title are identified (we recommend that homeowners contact: Bill Paatalo at http://www.bpinvestigativeagency.com)
On average, an attorney will assess the merits of your case in less than two minutes. If you can get his or her attention immediately you have a much better chance of the attorney agreeing to represent you. The attorney, like the court, wants hard evidence that substantiates your claims. The attorney will also appreciate a client who is focused, organized and doesn’t go off on tangents that waste valuable time.
In conclusion, don’t wait to start building your case after you retain an attorney. Conduct your due-diligence on the entities claiming they own your loan, research who and when they obtained the rights, investigate the parties on your documents and all entities including the signers, trust and if those parties are licensed to conduct business in your state. If you keep digging- you are more likely than not to find issues that support that the servicer attempting to foreclose has no standing to do so.
For consultations with Neil Garfield or paralegal assistance, please contact Lending Lies at:
(202) 838-6345 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Investigator Bill Paatalo can be contacted at: (406) 328-4075 or http://www.bpinvestigativeagency.com
This article is not legal advice and does not represent an attorney/client relationship but is strictly for informational purposes.